Monday, November 16, 2009

Adventuring Out: Dim Sum

Foodventures with our YES Prep student have continued and are more popular than ever! I’ve actually switched to a World Literature curriculum this year -- not only because it’s closer to my heart, but also because it ties to well to introducing food in the classroom.

Laugh it up. I’m not joking.

This past Sunday we took nine confident and capable sophomores to try dim sum for the first time at Ocean Palace. Since we’re reading The Joy Luck Club in class, we’ve had a cultural amuse bouche, and several students were ready for a true main course. Excited were they to show up at school -- on a Sunday -- to meet up with their teachers for a trip to Houston’s Chinatown.

Upon arrival, we told them, “No sodas today!!” [with a fist shake] and they shrugged, “OK.” And then we told them, “You have to try everything!!” [with a fist shake] and they said, “No problem.” We were shocked at how easily they slipped on their adventure caps, trusting us to steer them right.

Our amazing Algebra II teacher is originally from Hong Kong, and giggles broke out when she spoke to our servers in Cantonese. Then, a quick lesson on chopsticks before digging in... Hi-YA! Dishes piled up under the watchful intrigue of the kiddos. They loved the shrimp dumplings, pork buns, and daikon radish cakes. They connected the spongy tripe to meaty menudo. They took turns filling each other’s cups of tea. They each tried a saucy chicken foot. And they fought over the last sugary coconut treat. 100% awesome.

Each student walked away just a little wiser in the ways of the world -- and I walked away contented by teenagers who show a genuine curiosity about our global community. It is a wonder to watch how food can teach, create, unite. The day turned out serene, fast, formidable, and exciting-to-the-max. If only all my school weeks could begin with such varied grace.


married2food said...

Those kids are lucky to have you. Learning through food - I wish someone had taught me that way. I think I would have paid closer attention in class.

Dorothy said...

Miss Johnson, you ROCK. What a great experience for your students and for you, too! I imagine them as adults saying, "I remember the first time I tried Dim Sum . . . "

Anonymous said...

hey, next time, can I come?

looks like each side is teaching the other to jump in and trust you'll land somewhere worth it. thank you for sharing with us...made my day!

Genie said...

It makes me happy to see you teaching these kids to take risks and expand their horizons (esp. since this particular group is my first set of sixth graders!)

cindyscotia said...

What an adventure! Those students are definitely fortunate to have you as a teacher and a inspiration.

No matter if you're rich, poor, American or British, food connects everyone on this planet.